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Playing Drunk...Only One Got It Right


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In *Under the Volcano*, Albert Finney plays a perpetually drunk former British vice consul. Director John Huston was quoted as saying to writer Pete Hamill during the filming: "This fellow Finney is giving one of the finest performances I've ever seen. I thought he would be good; but I never dreamed that he would be as good as he is. Or that anybody would be as good as he is." Finney received an Oscar nomination for his efforts.

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Nicolas Cage is a terrible actor, but you're right. He was good in that film. I thought Elizabeth Shue was better though. A walking portrait of the enabler, she nailed the protective attachment, and disappointment, that often comes with that type of relationship. She's the one who should have won awards.

 

I like Mitchum as the wasted sheriff in EL DORADO. He's more effective than Dean Martin in the equivalent role. Jennifer Jason Leigh played a drugged out singer in something. I don't remember the title. And I like Milland too. He captures the despair as well as the desperation. Some scenes are actually frightening, a tribute more to direction than acting. But friend Ray's contribution should not be undermined.

 

This is an interesting topic. I'm willing to bet most of us have known somebody who suffered from this terrible affliction.

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Of course W. C. Fields made a career of playing a drunk. But, as said of Barrymore, he wasn't just playing. Errol Flynn plays a good drunk in John Huston's neglected *Roots of Heaven*, but by then, he wasn't just playing, either, even if he was sober on set.

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> {quote:title=hamradio wrote:}{quote}

> Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett) in "Annie" (1982)

>

> carol[imiss[/i]hannigan.jpg]

 

 

I despise Burnett's Miss Hannigan (the whole movie, actually). She does a fine drunk, but she brought absolutely nothing else to the role. Just drunk.

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Marie Dressler didn't handle her rum punch very well in *Tillie's Punctured Romance* with hysterically funny results. She just about makes a shambles of the restaurant where she has her first drink and later goes berserk in her uncle's mansion, breaking up the society party and just about every stick of furniture.

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Lol, that was the producer Ray Stark's whole point. The Miss Hannigan charactor was just that, a person who felt sorry for herself, staying drunk all the time to dull the misery. She didn't realize how *lucky* she had it. She could have been out on the street during the Great Depression starving or if she was the lucky few that had a job, could have been working in a place like a textile plant sweating 15 hour days making chicken feed salary.

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Referring to the movie "Wings" (1927) playing right now, half way though the film at a night club for the soldiers on leave, there is a great drunk scene.

 

Bubbles, bubbles everywhere, lil' bubbles, big bubbles, tuba bubbles, bedpost bubbles and bubblehead. That's when you know one is wasted. The establishment looks like Lawence Welk.

 

bubbles.jpg

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> {quote:title=hamradio wrote:}{quote}

> Lol, that was the producer Ray Stark's whole point. The Miss Hannigan charactor was just that, a person who felt sorry for herself, staying drunk all the time to dull the misery. She didn't realize how *lucky* she had it. She could have been out on the street during the Great Depression starving or if she was the lucky few that had a job, could have been working in a place like a textile plant sweating 15 hour days making chicken feed salary.

 

Utterly moronic decision, Completly sucked the life out of one of the greatest female characters of the American musical!

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I think what also help suck the life out of her was the horrible heatwave during the filming in 1981. I still remember the news reports from back then. The people in the movie was not pretending to be hot but were practically dying from it. This was a huge contributing factor why the Christmas theme wasn't done. No way, no how!

 

You can see the effects of the heat in the behind the scenes movie "Lights, Camera, Annie". People were in their underwear. John Huston only wore a T-shirt at times.

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Thanks to last night's schedule, I'm reminded that I like Lancaster in COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA. Sober through most of the story, he nonetheless shows the quiet despair many alcoholics must feel. He's given up. This is probably Burt's best performance.

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